Chapter Twenty-Seven – Fairies at the Nissan Falls
There’s a picture here. I have no idea where half of these waterfalls are coming from. I guess there’s just this spring right next to a giant cliff and the water comes up out of the spring and then pours over the cliff. Or something.
Also, Nissan is a car manufacturer. I would suspect Tesch of using blatant product placement in this novel, except I know that no manufacturer would want their brands associated with anything written by Gloria Tesch.
Maya and Joey get some blankets as a gift. Does this have any bearing on the plot whatsoever? No. Is it part of any character development? No. Does it serve any purpose in this story? No.
Tesch messes up her tenses, switching from past tense to present tense and back again, which I feel is probably more of a typo than anything else. And then we get…this:
No, just in case you were wondering, Hoppy’s ‘little hibernation sleep’ has never been mentioned before now. And yes, Tesch cannot even keep the formatting of the Nissan waterfalls within one single paragraph consistent.
They watered the unicorns and gave them the opportunity to graze freely in the field (page 165).
This is one of the many problems that absolutely infuriates me with the book. It seems obvious (possibly erroneously, I admit) that the ability to talk means that unicorns are not just dumb beasts. They are thinking, conscious creatures, presumably with free will, and therefore worthy of respect and of being treated like a human being. And yet Tesch has her characters treat them like regular, stupid horses.
As Maya and Joey goof off and go swimming, the armies provision themselves. Not exaggerating at all. Tesch actually stresses about how they’re not doing anything at all but relaxing while the army gets equipped for the journey to Lake Lagoon. That’s showing some great leadership, there.
Tesch talks about how some fairies are there watching them trying to find out some information, but they don’t. In other words, Tesch spends more than half a page talking about how nothing happens. This book is awesome.
Finally, they head off to Lake Lagoon. As they get closer, they get to a viewpoint where they can look down on the lake and it’s gorgeous. Maya shares some words of wisdom:
“Joey, you should always remember this.”
No, wait. That sounds like something an actual person would say. Instead, Maya says this:
“Joey, you must transfer this view into your mind and never ever forget about it.” (page 167)
And then they arrive.
Chapter Twenty-Eight – The Medium
Suddenly an army shows up. Yeah. Just like that. They aren’t warned by the sound of approaching marching, or a dust column. The army just appears.
The men started immediately to build a camp and holstered at all four corners of the camp blue flags with the symbol of seven white doves on it (page 169).
Now I’m really certain that Tesch has no idea what ‘holstered’ means.
Maya asks Joey whether Justin is just going to hand control of his army over to them. Which, as we have been over, is an absolutely terrible idea.
“Well, we have never met the man and so we really don’t know. Anyway, we don’t even know what his real motives are but I know that a wise leader resolves conflicts peacefully and not forcefully. We don’t know yet if he is building up his people or if he is building up his own dream and using people to do it?”
Maya was once again surprised by the wisdom, which her brother spit out of his mouth like others spit out a piece of chewing gum (page 169).
Resolving things by being nice instead of by fighting is something that people teach to toddlers. And this isn’t even remotely related to what Maya is asking. And there shouldn’t be a question mark there. And like chewing gum? Actually that’s a pretty apt metaphor. It makes no fucking sense, rather like Joey’s nuggets of ‘wisdom’.
Shortly afterward, they meet Justin. Justin laughs at them and is incredulous, and then says that he didn’t expect little kids who wouldn’t be able to do a man’s job. He has a pretty good point. But then again, Maya and Joey are the Heroes of the book, which mean one of two things has to happen: Either Justin will die, or he will have an amazing comeuppance where Maya and Joey prove their Worth and Justin is Forced to Swallow his Pride and Admit that Maya and Joey are Amazing. Let’s see which one it is!
They tie the unicorns up. No, really. Tesch even mentions that the unicorns are pissed off about this, but Maya reassures them that she’s going to take care of them after her speech. Somehow, if I was a unicorn, the thought that someone was going to ‘take care’ of me would only insult me further.
So Maya and Joey walk out to give their speech. Everyone is sitting on the sandy beach waiting for them.
It was an edifying sight to see so many young men sitting in front of their siblings (page 171).
I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.
Joey comments, in italics and extra quotation marks, that the entire army is pretty much made up of children, which makes sense, because they are all kids hiding from Apollyon’s soldiers. Still. An army of kids being led by kids. Talk about the blind leading the blind.
Maya gets up and tells everyone the story of how they found Maradonia and what they’ve done thus far. This whips the crowd into a frenzy and they start leaping up and down cheering about how the Encouragers have arrived and basically having a Matrix: Reloaded-style dance orgy.
Joey was also clapping his hands and turned to Maya, “Outstanding Maya! You know, outstanding leaders appeal to the heart of their follower’s.” (page 172)
Which may or may not be true, but telling people a pretty boring story is not appealing to people’s hearts, nor is it going to whip them into a frenzy. Few things piss me off more than authors who try to write stirring, moving speeches, fail completely because they lack the talent, and then have the characters in the story react as if it’s the most amazing thing ever. That’s the sort of thing that Christopher Paolini does, but Tesch decides to go one step further: she doesn’t even bother trying to write a stirring speech. This reminds me of a scene in Left Behind (which is a truly pestilent book, in case you’re lucky enough to have never read it) where Nicolae Carpathia (who is the AntiChrist) gives a moving speech at the United Nations that moves everyone to their feet and is portrayed as being possibly the single greatest speech in the history of mankind. The speech consists of reciting the name of every single country in the United Nations. No, I’m not kidding.
Maya notices that Justin is not excited and actually dared to LEAVE before she was finished with her speech.
We skip over to Justin’s POV and he is enraged and furious and jealous and is pissed off because everyone is cheering for Maya and Joey and he doesn’t want to give up command. Also, he’s not certain that they really are The Encouragers. So he decides he’s going to summon the spirit of his father, Kerry. Yes, his father’s name is Kerry. Justin heads off to find one of his soldiers, Dimitry, who midnights as a medium.
Then things start getting a little…odd. There have already been some rather blatant Christian references here and there throughout this book, but this entire following scene is practically word-for-word from the Bible, mimicking a scene where King Saul visits a medium. Observe:
Justin called two of his servants and said “Find me Dimitry, the medium, so that he comes to me and I may inquirer of him.” (page 174).
Yes, the book really says “inquirer”. And here’s the Bible:
Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” (1 Samuel, Chapter 28, NKJV).
Possibly a coincidence, right?
One of the captains answered, “In fact, this man is with us and he is here in the assembly” (page 174).
And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.” (1 Samuel).
But wait, you must be saying. Surely Tesch wouldn’t…
Dimitry asked, “Commander what is it that you inquire of?” Justin said, “Please conduct a séance for me and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”
Dimitry shivered, trembled, and said “Look Commander you know that ‘King Astrodulous’ is one of the sons of the kingdom of light and you know what he has done in the past and how he has cut off the mediums and the sorcerers in the land because they are an abomination to him and to the kingdom of light. Why then do you cause me to die?”
Justin swore to him by heaven and earth and said “No punishment will come over you for this thing” (page 175).
Okay, but that proves –
And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.”
Then the woman said to him, “Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?”
And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” (1 Samuel).
If someone had told me before I started sporking that Gloria Tesch would actually stoop to plagiarizing from the Bible, I would have called them insane.
There’s even a picture which is pretty awesome:
I don’t know what I like best about this: Dimitry’s chubby arms or Justin’s man-skirt and tight, muscular thighs.
So the rest of the scene progresses pretty much as it actually happens in the Bible. Except for this, because this doesn’t make any fucking sense:
Dimitry looked up to the sky and started to buzz some sort of tune. He was buzzing and speaking one ‘Swing Word’ after the other (page 175).
The medium calls up Kerry, Kerry is pissed, half of the lines are literally word-for-word from the Bible. Kerry says that by this time tomorrow, Justin will be dead and his command will be in the hands of The Encouragers. Justin does a face-plant and is terrified, and Dimitry and Justin’s servants make him eat something.
In the Bible, the medium calls up Samuel, Samuel is pissed, and says that by this time tomorrow, Saul will be dead and his country will be in the hands of the Philistines. Saul does a face-plant and is terrified, and the medium and Saul’s servants make him eat something. So, it’s totally different.
I spent some trying to decide how I feel about Tesch using scenes out of the Bible. I’m not necessarily opposed to allegory, and I’m quite fond of the Chronicles of Narnia, so it’s not bad on its own merits. However, an allegory is simply using characters and events to symbolize higher or deeper events. It’s not taking entire scenes from the Bible and reproducing them, often literally word-for-word. That’s just lazy writing. I’m not sure what Tesch hopes to accomplish from this, but she’s doing a pretty shitty job.
Chapter Twenty-Nine – Curare
Justin decides his only chance is to poison Maya and Joey. He’s always carried a bottle of Curare, which is a deadly poison. So he gets some mangos, cuts them open, smears them with poison, and takes them to the camp. Luckily, though, Libertine sees him, gets a bad feeling, heads into camp and warns Joey. Joey is worried. Then he sees Justin show up and offer Maya a mango, so he runs over and tackles her and warns her that it was poisoned. Everyone laughs. Joey tells Justin that if the fruits are fine, he needs to eat one himself. All the captains find this pretty funny so they look at Justin and start chanting “Eat! Eat!”
Justin can’t take it anymore. So:
Within the blink of an eye he decided that it was better for him to die with dignity and honor as Commander and Chief of the united armies of the ‘Valley of Imma’ (page 182).
I don’t think there’s a lot of dignity and honor in dying as you try to assassinate the Chosen Ones, but to each his own.
Justin eats the mango. Looks around, smiles, falls over and dies. So yeah, if you don’t believe in Maya and Joey you are going to die. Sounds suitably Mary-Sueish.
Hoppy looked out of Joey’s pocket, seeing Justin on the ground and said, “Food effect’s your Mood!” (page 183).
I have no words for this. Except that Joey keeps tackling people and rolling around on the ground. Hoppy should be fucking dead by now.
Maya, Dimitry, the captains and all the young men, who had observed this occurrence, were shocked, deeply moved and had no words. Joey tried to break the silence with the words “I told you so!” (page 183).
Uh, Joey? Not really the time.
Anyway, one of the captains says that they want Maya and Joey to lead them and be their commanders. Hooray!
Next up: More scenes from the Bible and more blatant stupidity!